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The Merry Wives of Windsor | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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The Merry Wives of Windsor | Act 5, Scene 1 | Summary



Back at the Garter Inn, Falstaff tells Mistress Quickly he will go along with Mistress Ford's plan to meet in the park at midnight. She leaves to help him get his "Herne the Hunter" disguise together.

Ford, disguised as "Master Brook," enters a moment later. He asks Falstaff how the attempt to seduce Mistress Ford is going. Speaking cryptically, Falstaff admits failure and divulges some details of his humiliating episode at the Ford house. Then claiming to be in a hurry, he asks "Brook" to follow him as he tells about the planned tryst with Mistress Ford and about "this knave Ford, on whom tonight I will be revenged, / and I will deliver his wife into your hand." The two men leave the stage together.


Falstaff here shows his willingness to be fooled not once, or even twice, but three times. Whatever was in Mistress Quickly's letter back in Act 4 must have been extremely convincing to get Falstaff to forget his recent humiliations. Or—more realistically—perhaps Falstaff is just letting his lust and greed get the better of him yet again.

Falstaff's final interview with "Master Brook" is short, for both "Brook" and the audience already know about Falstaff's plans for the evening. Offstage "Brook" no doubt patiently listens to Falstaff as the knight walks through the details of his upcoming dalliance with Mistress Ford. Shakespeare, however, now skips this part of the "Falstaff and Brook" routine, hurrying the play along toward its festive and chaotic conclusion.

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